Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mother Murders Children: Fathers Had Tried to Get Custody

Three children, ages 6, 5 and 1, were found either drowned or poisoned, with one having her throat cut on Monday.

Leatrice Brewer called the 911 operator and said coldly "I killed my babies."

The three children, a girl 6 and two boys, 5 and 1, were found wearing their night clothes.

"They almost looked as though they were sleeping," Lt. Michael Fleming said. "It almost looked like they were cuddled up together for the night."

Ms. Brewer, 27, called police herself. She also jumped out of a second story window and was hospitalized with a back injury. She lived in the New Cassel section of Long Island, a relatively poor neighborhood. She had an arrest record going back to 2000.

Brewer's case brings up the larger issue of child custody and whether the courts favor the mother too much in such cases. The father of Brewer's daughter, as well as the father of her two sons, said they'd been fighting family court to take possession of the children. However, each of them said that the court would not hear them out.

"Whenever I tried to get my daughter, Family Court wouldn't let me," said Ricky Ward, the little girl's father. "The courts wouldn't hear me out. I blame this on Leatrice Brewer and Family Court."

Many fathers throughout America are fighting the same issue. Mathew Smith, a doctor and father of one, said that he tried for years to take possession of his child, who was living in unfit circumstances.

"I loved my child, but she didn't like the discipline I imposed because her mother did not discipline her," said Smith, who was also denied partial custody because his daughter did not want to live with him. "She was a teenager and sharing a room with her teenage brother, which was clearly inappropriate because I gave her mother thousands per month in child support, which she spent on her boyfriend. But the courts refused to even listen to my case."

This is a nation-wide problem, as many fathers are victims of alienation by mothers who deny them the right to see their children. Groups like Fathersrights.org and others are designed to protect the rights of fathers in child custody and child support cases.

The issue is especially strong in the black community, where many fathers are accused of abandoning their children. However, this is not always the case, as many fathers are simply denied access to their kids.

"People accused me of being a bad father for not marrying the mother of my kids and for not living with my children," said Dr. Smith. "But the honest truth was that her mother did not want to marry me and she denied me the right to spend time with my kids, even when I tried. I never did anything but love her."


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, it's all to common. Family Court is one of few places that's even worse for African American men than the criminal courts.
Its a cash cow for the state(gov. funds) and they have no incentive to correct or improve it.

Anonymous said...

I find myself in a similar situation. My daughter’s mother is unfit and provides no supervision or dispend for my daughter. I'm considered the bad guy and too harsh for trying to instill respect and lay down rules for my daughter. Most of the problems facing the black community today are coming from these black baby mama type households.